Dr. Xiaodong Lin - Learning from the Rest of the WorldPublished in TC Today - Volume 37, No. 2
By Siddhartha Mitter
Learner-centered pedagogy has been taken up by some international development agencies -- not least as a survival strategy for teachers with sole responsibility for managing classrooms of a hundred students or more.
But it may be that the practice doesn't always transfer wholesale to other cultures.
"When you see it in action in some places, you can see things about it that are built specifically on American values and assumptions about resources," says Lesley Bartlett, TC Associate Professor of Education. "Students who aren't used to challenging a teacher's ideas won't feel comfortable with this pedagogy. Another issue is that when five or 10 kids have to share a single textbook, they can't do much independent work at home. And language policy can be a barrier, too. In Tanzania, for example, students shift from Swahili to English in secondary school, and they often have great difficulty expressing themselves in a language they're struggling to learn."
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